One of the most popular characters and series to emerge from DC Comics’ New 52 reboot in 2011 was J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman’s Batwoman. Not only was the series popular, it received critical acclaim for Williams’ gritty storytelling and the stylish and spectacular, ethereal, and surreal artwork by Blackman. The classic B-level superheroine of the 1950s had been reintroduced as Kate Kane with a new Alex Ross-designed costume in 2006. In the DC Comics weekly series 52 the character became the most memorable legacy of the series–ex-military, a lesbian, of Jewish descent, with her ex, Renee Montoya, a Gotham police detective—rare constructs for any character in comicdom. In the best of ironies, the character created to combat accusations of Batman’s sexuality in the 1950s became a symbol of the very thing she was made to deflect.
Beyond the symbolism of the modern character and success as a new iconic character, Williams and Blackman wrote a great Bat-book. But after several successful months as a New 52 series, editorial decisions and creator ideas crossed streams and the series fizzled out. Happily for fans of the character, DC is bringing Batwoman onto center stage once again. Beginning this month in Detective Comics Issue #948 and continuing in February with Issue #949, the two-part “Batwoman Begins” arc forms the prologue for the monthly Rebirth continuity one-shot Batwoman: Rebirth in February and the series Batwoman, beginning in March.
Writers Marguerite Bennett and James T. Tynion IV are co-writing the initial story with Bennett to take over the series later in the year. Artwork will be provided by Steve Epting and Ben Oliver. Jae Lee will be creating a variant cover for the series’ first issue.
In the pages of Detective Comics we catch up with Batwoman as she flashes back to her father, now in jail, who was once her crime-fighting confidante, providing in-ear assistance as Oracle had provided to the Birds of Prey over the years. Batwoman was in training by tracking Batman, figuring if she could do that she was ready to be on her own. In the present she is working with Batman as he is brought in to review a new threat–remnants of a creature defeated in a prior battle is creating a viral threat and its own new enemies for Gotham.
As DC Comics has described in its promotional material, the prologue will be a segue to Batwoman getting outside of Gotham on her own international adventures, sounding similar to path taken with the New 52’s Huntress series.
Batwoman fans will want to add Detective Comics and Batwoman to their comic book shop pull lists. Detective Comics Issue #948 is on store shelves now. Issue #949 will be released on January 25. Batwoman: Rebirth, a one-shot book, goes on sale February 15, and the ongoing monthly begins with Batwoman, Issue #1, coming March 15.